MOBILE, Ala. — Nothing is definitive right now, of course, but someone very close to Eli Manning believes the 38-year-old quarterback will be back with the Giants in 2019 for a 16th season.
“Shoot, yeah, I think so,” Tom Condon, Manning’s agent, said Monday at the site of this week’s Senior Bowl.
Condon, who rarely speaks on the record about his clients, added he believes Manning wants to return to the Giants, the only team he has ever played for in the NFL.
“I think he’d love to come back,” said Condon, the driving force behind the powerful Creative Artists Agency’s football division. “Guys love to play their whole careers with one team, if they have a good experience with that team.”
A huge potential issue surrounding a Manning return or parting of the ways could revolve around his acceptance of a salary reduction. The Giants have not said anything about cutting into Manning’s 2019 salary, which is on the books for $17 million, or the possibility of reducing his salary-cap number of $23.2 million for the coming season. Manning is entering the final year on his contract.
Condon reported he has not had any conversations with the Giants about this subject but cautioned that is not unusual, as teams use this time to evaluate their players before making any significant money decisions. Condon said not only has he not spoken to the Giants about Manning, he also has not spoken with any other team about any one of his clients.
“It’s just too early,” Condon said.
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Does he expect the Giants to approach him at some point about Manning’s contract?
“I have no idea,” Condon said.
If the Giants want any face time with Condon, this week will be a time to get it done. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman will be in town this week, scouting seniors for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Where the Giants go at quarterback is the decision of the offseason for a team that finished 5-11 in 2018 and again failed to make the playoffs. Manning started all 16 games and compiled a passer rating of 92.4, completing a career-high 66 percent of his passes for 4,299 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
His offense struggled in the first half of the season, as the Giants lost seven of their first eight games, but a commitment to rookie running back Saquon Barkley and more familiarity with new head coach Pat Shurmur’s approach helped the offense perform far better in the second half of the season, as the Giants went 4-4 and averaged 27.4 points a game.